Back in the early 1970’s, society rules did not permit teen mothers to continue high school once they were seen to be pregnant. And further to not completing high school, many teen mothers were pressured to surrender their child, supposedly in effort to give them a better future. 

In 1971, a group of determined young moms challenged that judgment banding together with the goal of earning their high school diploma and keeping their children.  That group of young women were supported by other community women and social workers and did exactly what they set out to achieve.  This small team of trailblazers founded what we know today as Terra Centre for Teen Parents. 

Over 50 years later, Terra continues to support teen parents. Through a full-range of free supports and programs, Terra assists young parents to develop competencies in parenting, and in addressing personal challenges that may be barriers for them to achieve their personal and parenting goals. 

In any given year, Terra supports nearly a thousand teen parents and their children, whose lives would be critically different without Terra’s help. Teens can come to Terra at any stage in their parenting journey and receive support for several years, up to the age of 24.  

Our breadth of services has grown and continues to evolve. What started as a society focused on helping young moms complete their high school education is now an organization that offers a multi-faceted, comprehensive approach to helping young parents and their children reach their full potential. Terra now offers a variety of programs, including:

  • Educational Supports
  • Housing Support
  • Mental Health Services
  • Services for Young Dads
  • Group Programs
  • Early Learning and Childcare
  • Clothing and Essentials
  • Post High School Transition
  • Youth Leadership
  • and more

We are able to accept young parents at whatever point they are at in their journey and tailor our services to meet their distinct needs and circumstances. We understand that each young parent’s experiences are unique to them and our Starting Point program reflects that.

Most importantly, Terra contributes to the well-being of the children of teen parents. We create opportunities for teen parents to develop their parental strengths and become more knowledgeable about infant care, bonding, attachment, developmental play, guiding behaviours and positive discipline that increase their capacity to parent more effectively and create a solid foundation on which to build a family life.

Our Approach to Services

Our staff team uses an integrated service model meaning that at Terra we all work together with the parent to help ensure they achieve their goals and that our services meet their needs. Many young parents access numerous programs at one time from across the agency including counselling and childcare at Braemar School, housing, community outreach, group support and others. The parent and the service team work collectively – sharing information and jointly planning who and how services will be provided. 

For over 50 years, Terra has built many strong and positive relationships with other community agencies that support our efforts in serving teen parents and their children. There is little that Terra does in isolation. Our partners share their services, expertise, resources, staff and space. These collaborations are crucial to the current and future success of our young families.